Summary: Now we get a glimpse of the first vision that Christ gives John. He is going to proclaim a message for the 7 churches but before he does that, He gives John a vision of Himself.
Now we get a glimpse of the first vision that Christ gives John. He is going to proclaim a message for the 7 churches but before he does that, He gives John a vision of Himself. He wants believers down through the ages to know that the message to the churches is coming from the Supreme Majesty of the universe.
The first thing we look at is the setting. READ 9-10a. John says 3 things here that we need to look at. Notice that John tells us that he is the writer not the author, the Holy Spirit is the author. (v.11) He is the last living apostle, probably about 95 yrs. old.
1. He calls himself a brother and a companion to the believers of the churches. By brother he means that he is a fellow believer. By companion he means that he has lived among the believers. He has been a companion with them in their day to day tribulation, (and by tribulation he is not referring to the great tribulation, but persecution). He was with them in their day to day seeking of the kingdom, their day to day patience, enduring and persevering against all trials and temptations. He knew what they were going through.
2. Second, John says that he was on the island of Patmos when Christ gave him the visions of Revelation. Notice he says that he had been banished or exiled to the island for the cause of Christ—for preaching the Word of God and the testimony of Christ.
• Practicing Christians will experience tribulation and persecution.
• It wasn’t easy being a Christian then and it’s not easy being a Christian now.
• A.D. 96 pastor of the church of Smyrna, Polycarp, was burned at the stake for refusing to bow to the Roman emperor, and wouldn’t stop preaching Jesus.
• Martin Luther, John Wycliff, John Bunyon, all gave their lives for the Word of God.
3. Thirdly, he says that he was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day. Most theologians seem to agree that this simply meant that it was Sunday. When he says in the Spirit, it means that Christ put John in a trance. He gave him a deep spiritual experience that lifted his mind and spirit above this world and put him in the very presence of Christ Himself. This wasn’t a dream. John was supernaturally transported out of this material world to an experience beyond normal human senses. He was in fellowship with God. An important note: we cannot hear from God or worship God outside the Spirit of God.
Note that God met John’s needs while in exile. There’s a lesson for us in this. In the darkest hours of human need, God is always there. God will meet us if we will only cast ourselves upon Him and call for Him. It’s interesting to note that John was in exile at this time when Christ came to him.
- It was in exile that Jacob saw God at Bethel. (Gen. 35:6ff)
- It was in exile that Moses saw the angel of the Lord and heard God at the burning bush. (Ex. 3:1ff)
- It was in exile that Elijah heard that still small voice (1Kings 19:3ff)
- It was in exile that Ezekiel saw the glory of the Lord by the river. (Ez. 1:3ff)
- It was in exile that Daniel saw the Ancient of Days (Dan. 7:9ff)
Does that say anything to you?
Then there was the loud trumpeting voice of the Lord giving instructions. READ 10b-11. So, the vision begins. John hears a loud voice behind him. It must have been pretty loud to be like a trumpet. It was also a voice of authority. The voice instructed John to write what he saw and send it to the 7 churches of Asia.
Note that the message was not for John but for the 7 churches. It was to build the churches up in faith. That is why it’s important to teach the Revelation in the church today; to edify and build us up in the faith. Over 60 years had gone by since John had heard the voice of the Lord Jesus. John recognizes that voice and turns to see the one He so loves. What did he see? READ 12-13.
There was Christ standing in the middle of 7 golden lamp stands, or in the midst of the churches. Verse 20 tells us that the seven lamp stands represent the 7 churches. Why does the lamp stand represent the church? Jesus Christ is the Light of the world. The church is to proclaim the light of Christ to the world. Notice that Christ stands in the middle of the candlesticks. Here we have the picture of Jesus in the midst of His churches. Unless He stands in the midst of the church, the church has no light. The church must see to it that Christ is in its midst, and the church must proclaim the light of Christ to the world.